Basements and Sump Pumps

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​​​​​​​​In 2013, the City of Ann Arbor evaluated its Footing Drain Disconnection (FDD) Program to determine its effectiveness in removing storm water flows from the sanitary sewer system and reducing the risk of basement back.

Measurements show that the FDD program removed significant storm water flows from the sanitary sewer system and reduced the risk of basement backups in the targeted areas. ​

FDD homeowner survey conducted in 2013

As part of the evaluation, the Citizens Advisory Committee working with the project team sponsored a survey of all Ann Arbor homeowners who had undergone a footing drain disconnection and sump pump installation. Most respondents generally reported satisfaction, however 40% reported increased anxiety about their sump pump and its operation. There were also reports of water or other problems in basements after the disconnection.

After receiving these results, the City launched an investigation of the most serious reports of water in basements. The City has created a program to do two things:

1.      Investigate and correct any footing drain disconnections or sump pump installations performed as part of the City's FDD program that were not completed according​​​ to specifications or in accordance with common industry standards.

2.      Provide education for all sump pump owners on basic operations and maintenance of their sump pump installations.

There are just a few things you need to know:​

  • The City can only fund construction modifications for homes that participated in the City's FDD program. 

  • Short videos have been created to explain how water flows to your sump pump, as well as show the components of a footing drain disconnection and sump pump installation. Please watch these videos to familiarize yourself with the parts of a sump pump system.  ​​

Who should I call? ​​

Sump pump replacement or repair, sump pump and exterior plumbing maintenance checks

Contact a plumber or handyman service. Most plumbers and some handymen services can replace or repair​ sump pumps, as well as perform semi-annual sump pump maintenance. ​

Sanitary sewage basement backup

A basement backup is sanitary sewer water entering the basement, typically through a floor drain. It is grayish in color and usually has an odor.

If you are experiencing a sanitary sewage problem, please contact the City of Ann Arbor right away. Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., please call 734.794.6320. After hours, weekends and holidays, please call 734.994.2840.​

Basement flooding

Basement flooding can be caused by heavy storms, spring snowmelt, or excessive groundwater build-up entering your home via leaks or seepage. Poor yard drainage can also put your basement at risk. The water is typically clear and odor-free.

Residents are urged to check their homeowners’ insurance policies to ensure coverage for any property damage from basement flooding. Often this type of coverage is not included in the standard homeowners policy and residents must request a special rider in order to be covered.​

The City of Ann Arbor tracks instances of basement flooding to identify causes and potential patterns. To report an issue Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm, please call 734.794.6320. A fter hours, evenings, weekends and holidays, please call 734.994.2840.

Inspection and certification for water-powered backup systems (RPZ valves)​

​Backflow prevention devices must be tested by a licensed certified plumber and inspected by the City every 3 years to verify that sump water is not contaminating the water supply.

Find a Certified Backflow Tester through the Michigan Plumbing & Mechanical Contractors Association.

Videos, guides and checklists​ 

​​Nick Hutchinson
City Engineer
734.794.​6430 ext. 43633
Larcom City Hall
301 E. Huron St., Fourth Floor
Ann Arbor​, MI 48104